Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Good and Evil Mother

The other day, in a professional capacity, I was asked to consider the possible dynamics between social workers and mothers whose children have been taken away from them. You'll have to excuse me but I got quite emotional on the subject and the claws of the tigress threatened to strike. For imagining that my children could be taken away from me by the state sent chills down my spine. 

But it was also the views of other professional woman (all of them childless) that made me tremble, such as: A mother who truly loves her children could not harm them.  Maternal love is a natural instinct born when the child is born. If a mother does horrific things to her children and the children are taken away from her she is not worthy of any help and support and all contact  between her and her children should stop.  What all of these statements have in common I think is that mothers can be divided between Good Mothers and Evil Mothers. 

I want to scream at this grossly wrong perception. The best advice one of my friends gave me when I was first pregnant was; "If you feel like throwing your child out of the window don't be alarmed. It's normal to feel like that from time to time. It doesn't mean you are a bad mother".  Now of course there is a difference between feeling that way and actually doing what you are feeling but the line is fine and if support is thin then the road to losing control is not far off. I say; invest in research and support of womens' healths; restore pride and empowerment in the birthing process and make excellent women-centred maternity services a priority;  get men and dads more involved; give more and better maternity and paternity leave; support mothers/families all the way through to when the children leave home; educate new mothers, the wider world, what challenging job it is to bring up children and honour it for what it is - an amazingly important and difficult job. For the child will carry what she has learned into the world. 

Therefore we all have a responsibility, not just mothers!, because the little world has an impact on the big world. And a child is a gift. But we can only see the gift if we feel that we are a gift too and feel that we are honoured and cherished by society. And no one can love better than a mother. YES. No one can love better than a mother because she has carried that child, she has given birth to that child, and no matter how far she has slipped down the path of chaos and disconnection, deep down buried in her depths, she still loves that child the best. She may not be the best person to CARE for that child. But that love is the love the child deep down wants no matter how bad things have gotten. For a child their mother, their father, is God. There is no one else than God. That's why it is so terribly terribly painful when the parent does not give good enough parenting. And as a society we have the duty to meet that pain and to repair wherever we can. And to support before it comes to the point where a child is torn from her mother, where a mother is torn away from her child. 

1 comment:

  1. Whilst in general I agree with you! However, I do have to cite that in my professional capacity, I had a patient who was continually sexually abused by her father and at times the mother was present! She (the patient) went to social services and asked for help! Social services interviewed the parents and left believing that this child was not telling the truth! Consequently the abuse continued and my patient ended up pregnant at 14 with her father's child! This was of course some years ago and perhaps things have now swung too far the other way! But it does bring to light that in some cases the child is 'better off' being taken from the mother! Certainly my patient believes this wholeheartedly! She struggled as an adult to buid up and endure a court case against both of her parents and they were both sentenced! She feels no love for either parent and has has a huge bitterness towards those who did not listen to her when she was helpless! Gill